Do you remember the first time you tried to take back the word “fat”? Mine was in junior high. I figured because everybody already treated me differently, they obviously knew I was fat (DAMN IT, BUT HOW?!) and I probably looked foolish trying to pretend I wasn’t. I figured it was a way to save face. But suddenly I was depressed and insecure and cause for so much misguided sympathy from my friends, who begged me not to “talk shit” about myself.
Sigh. This is how I thought it would always be. For one, I was also fatphobic as fuck and wouldn’t be caught dead paling around with another fat girl for fear of being a collectively bigger target. That meant there was no possible way I could have learned how wrong I was back then, in my thin bubble. I wasn’t a good ally. I had no good allies. I didn’t know it could be any other way.
It me. Gang of one.
Taking back “fat” is still hard. People still don’t understand it. They take it as admitting defeat. As a resignation. But that only works if you think my body is a failure, which I fucking don’t. I am free in this body. I am reminded just how free by watching other fat babes live their lives unapologetically and by gathering with them to take up some well-deserved space.
That’s what #fatandfree means to me. Plus Model, goddess, mermaid, HBIC, Supermom Saucye West started the hashtag on Instagram and rounded up around 30 plus-size princesses for a photoshoot with bopo photographer Suma Jane Dark. I’m warning you right now, things are about to get legit too magical up in this piece.
Having community with fellow fat women can still be a scary thing, particularly in public. If you have it relatively easy like I do in terms of being the victim of fat phobia, nothing will remind you that people want us to disappear like strutting your stuff in a fat pack. People react. It’s here, it’s real, and we still have work to do. But this day, this was a safe space. This was a celebration. I mean, any chance to take my top off is always a celebration but, you know.
Brace yourself for the moment that gave me the most life:
From left to right: Chamia LaRae, Saucye West, The Body is Not an Apology‘s Denise Jolly
This was right before they started twerking. *fans self*
This is why every fat woman needs a fat squad, a topic on which I will be writing more in depth for Ravishly later this month. We can’t have liberation alone. Another reason–NO ONE laughs like fat women. Fight me.
Special, SPECIAL shouts to Laurel Dickman who was instrumental in putting this all together. <3